The Victorian Government has awarded contracts to deliver three new train stations in Bendigo, and a new electronic train order (ETO) system from Bendigo to Swan Hill and Echuca.

Symal Infrastructure will deliver the new stations as part of Bendigo Metro 3, with the new Goornong Station to be delivered first and on track to be completed in 2021.

V/Line, in conjunction with rail specialists Wabtec, has been awarded the contract to deliver a new electronic train order (ETO) system from Bendigo to Swan Hill and Echuca.

Symal Infrastructure has already commenced site investigations in Goornong and will ramp up works in the coming months, with construction to take place alongside V/Line-delivered track upgrades which will increase the speed of trains between Epsom and Goornong.

The delivery of Huntly Station will follow in mid-2022, fast-tracked by nearly a year, with a new Raywood Station to be completed by late-2022.

Each new station will include a single platform and car parking as well as lighting, seating and shelter.

The Victorian Government has invested $49.6 million in Bendigo Metro 3 to provide more access for the people in these growing communities to train services close to where they live.

The new stations are being delivered by Rail Projects Victoria as part of the Bendigo and Echuca Line Upgrade.

“These new stations will give people better access to public transport and make it a viable option to get people where they need to go,” Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said.

“New train stations help communities thrive – creating more opportunities for people to live and work and supporting our local economy.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the new ETO system is being delivered as part of the Bendigo and Echuca Rail Line Upgrade, a first for the Victorian regional rail network that will allow additional services to both Eaglehawk and Epsom while tripling the number of weekday services to and from Echuca.

“The Australian Government’s investment in this cutting-edge technology will not only improve regional rail in Victoria but secure Victoria’s future as we move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr McCormack said.

“The new system will deliver much-needed additional services for passengers in and around Greater Bendigo and has the potential to transform the way some of the state’s long-distance lines operate.

“We are investing in critical projects such as this under our record $110 billion infrastructure investment pipeline as part of our world-leading Economic Recovery Plan.”

Ms Allan said passengers on both the Bendigo and Echuca lines will receive huge benefits from the  line upgrade.

“This project will triple the number of services to Echuca and make those services faster, connecting passengers in these communities to more opportunities for work, education, health and recreation within Bendigo and Melbourne,” Ms Allan said.

“We are continuing to roll out our program of critical infrastructure works – including the Bendigo and Echuca Line Upgrade – to support jobs and keep our economy going.”

The new system will use on-board telecommunications equipment to identify a train’s position on the network and communicate it electronically to the train controller. This information is currently shared manually between train drivers and controllers and the new electronic system will allow more trains to safely operate on these sections of track.

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the ETO system will also provide improved service outcomes for freight by enabling one return service each week between Melbourne and Deniliquin, and Melbourne and Piangil.

“The Bendigo and Echuca Rail Line Upgrade is being delivered as part of the Australian and Victorian Governments’ combined investment of more than $4 billion in Victoria’s regional rail network,” Mr Drum said.

“This significant investment is upgrading every regional passenger rail line in the whole of Victoria.”

Patron Senator for Bendigo, Sarah Henderson, said that the enormous investment in improving the passenger rail network in Victoria was really delivering for the region.

“I am excited to see planning and development activity is already underway, with works set to be complete in late 2022 – supporting much-needed jobs at this critical time,” Ms Henderson said.

“This line upgrade forms part of a much broader commitment to regional Victoria with both Governments’ contributions combining to creating 3,000 jobs.”

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